As I’ve consistently said here, and found in my own life, no thinker is more important in the last five hundred years, than Carl Gustav Jung. But the breadth and depth of his thinking makes it a challenge to discover and understand the essentials. Jung is very well known and very popular within a small part of our culture, and his influence is everywhere in our culture, but that’s not well known by most people.
Jung is best known as a psychologist, but the current materialist approach to science in general, and to psychology specifically, marginalizes Jung and it’s hard for people to discover Jung on their own. Many people, if they know of Jung, may think of him as a student and colleague of Freud, and think of him as simply some psychologist of the past, no longer relevant for today.
Great thinkers, like Jung, explore and set out a body of work that has such deep relevance to humanity that it is impossible for their work not to remain important to be rediscovered by subsequent generations. Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare aren’t some old guys who can be dismissed – they produced great works that speak to the essential core of the humanity within all of us. Jung is the same for me. I can get chills and tears from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Jung’s Red Book, as much as from The OA.
This video is an excellent introduction to Jung. It covers the most important areas that Jung explored. Near the end of the video, gender is discussed, which was important to Jung and to me as well. Women around the turn of the last century, when psychology was just beginning to gain momentum as a science, were often diagnosed with “hysteria”, which today would be recognized and describe as anxiety, or a neurosis. When one reads these stories, without looking at it through a more discerning lens, and I would use my lens of deep evolution, it is easy, yet simplistic to see how these women were delicate creatures. Strong people and men would not suffer in this way. But when one looks at this from a more Jungian (and deep evolutionary) perspective, it seems much more obvious that women were suffering in greater numbers and to a greater degree, because society was and is denying the feminine, in complex ways. But if you are not familiar with this Jungian view of gender, do not consider it to be male-bashing or simplistic gender wars. There is much more going on in all of this and there are no villains or saints – rather we are all products of our society and I would say our evolution.
But generally, women are less supported, in many ways, by the psychological and social environment than men. It’s not so much a man’s world, as a dysfunctional masculine world, with many implications way beyond gender. Our society has continued down this path, that really began a few thousand years ago, although the feminine is being recognized somewhat more in some ways. But psychological problems are much more balanced now – and not in a good way – women aren’t doing better, men are doing worse. Men have caught up to women. Anxiety, neuroses and the use of psychotropic drugs is growing and virtually endemic in our society. Our unbalanced society is affecting men as well as women, because as Jung pointed out, men and women contain both the masculine and feminine. I’m thinking now that over the last century or more, women have been the canaries in the coal mine in our society, but now men are being affected as well. This video is thought provoking even for a person well versed in Jung.
There is a lot here. Leanne Whitney is wonderful in her passion and her intelligence. She has a PhD in depth psychology and works with people using that education along with yoga and craniosacral therapy. She’s also written a book – Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali, where she writes to reconcile Eastern and Western thought. Sigh – another book I will have to order soon.
The interview is by Jeffrey Mishlove, a psychologist himself, with an enormously broad range of interests and a great interviewer who brings out the best in his guests. Mishlove had a long running American public television show (PBS), called Thinking Allowed and now has a new series available on YouTube – New Thinking Allowed. His interviews are highly recommended and I’m sure I’ll be referring to more in the future.